North America

What to Know about the Amendment to the Illinois Freedom to Work Act

The Illinois Legislature recently passed a bipartisan bill, available here, that seeks to significantly amend the Illinois Freedom to Work Act (820 ILCS § 90) and impose restrictions on the use of non-competition and non-solicitation (employee and customer) restrictive covenants for Illinois employees. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Pritzker, and would take effect on January 1, 2022. The bill is not retroactive and only applies to restrictive covenants entered into after January 1, 2022.

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SCOTUS Favors Narrower Reading of CFAA “So” It Does Not Cover Misuse of Authorized Access

A significant opinion concerning computer security was one of those the United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) issued during its end-of-term flurry this year.  Employers and others who permit computer access to sensitive information for business or other defined purposes may want to take note. Spoiler alert:  the opinion undercuts use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. §1030 et seq., to obtain federal jurisdiction in employer-employee disputes. (As a practical matter, the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 had already filled the gap for many circumstances).

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Homeowner Insurance Policy: The Importance of Living in the Insured Dwelling

By Stéphanie Beauchamp, from our Insurance Law Practice Group

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June 17, 2021 — The Superior Court recently rendered an interesting decision in Dang c. Industrielle-Alliance, assurance auto et habitation inc., 2021 QCCS 1408, emphasizing the importance for the insured to give a thorough declaration of the risk to the insurer. In this case, the plaintiff was asking her insurer for an indemnity following a fire that had damaged her house. The Superior Court rendered a judgment in favor of the insurer, who argued that the homeowner insurance policy compelled the insured to remain in the house to benefit from the coverage.

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New York Reaches 70 Percent: What Does That Mean for NY Employers?

On June 15, 2021, New York State celebrated reaching 70 percent of its adult population having received at least one vaccination dose. As a result, the State lifted most of its New York Forward industry-specific COVID-19 guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and gathering contact information for tracing—making them optional for most employers. The State has archived its industry-specific reopening guidance, which employers may, but are not required to, continue to follow[1].

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As pressure mounts on the US to pass data privacy legislation in 2021, businesses should prepare for compliance

Global data privacy legislation has steadily advanced over the past several years.

One of the most comprehensive and well-known laws is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), governing personal data originating in the European Union, which went into effect in 2018. Many countries, including Brazil, Japan, and Australia, have followed suit and enacted similar legislation to regulate industries and protect certain rights of consumers, businesses, and other parties that are affected in their respective territories. Late in 2020, China, on a similar path, released draft legislation, the Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL), that is moving toward passage. The United States, however, still lacks a comprehensive law at the federal level, relying instead on a patchwork of state laws to protect data privacy rights, resulting in confusion across the country and costly compliance for U.S. businesses. Read more…

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Ninth Circuit Delivers Complete Victory to Walmart on Wage Statement Claims and Rejects Article III Standing to PAGA-Plaintiffs Without Personal Injury

On May 28, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delivered a win to Walmart in a lawsuit brought by Roderick Magadia (“Magadia”) alleging violations of California’s wage statement and meal break laws.

The Ninth Circuit overturned a $102 million dollar judgment issued by United States District Judge Lucy H. Koh – comprised of $48 million in statutory damages and $54 million in civil penalties under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  It did so because it found that Magadia lacked Article III standing because he could not establish that he suffered any alleged meal break violations, and because Wal-Mart had provided compliant wage statements – contrary to the finding of the district court.

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Video: States Adjust COVID-19 Regulations and OSHA ETS Released – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday:  This week, we look at the ways in which states are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions and discuss the much-anticipated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) emergency temporary standard.

States Adjust COVID-19 Regulations to Align with CDC Guidance

States are relaxing or lifting COVID-19 regulations in different ways to align with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”), causing confusion for many employers. The CDC’s guidance does not provide a recommended mechanism for confirming vaccine status, which is also leading to different regulations in different states. Read more about changes in CaliforniaIllinois, and New York.

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COVID Re-Opening Phase 5: What Now for Illinois and Chicago Businesses?

On June 11, 2021, Illinois and the City of Chicago entered Phase 5 of its five-stage reopening plans. As part of the transition, Illinois released Executive Order 2021-12 (the “Phase 5 Reopening Order”) and new Phase 5 Guidance. Chicago also issued Phase 5 Recommendations and provided a helpful graphic that provides additional recommendations, which apply to all businesses. For Illinois and Chicago businesses, Phase 5 means a lifting of many COVID-19 restrictions across industries. Although businesses can start operating closer to normal, Phase 5 is a new normal that still includes social distancing and masking recommendations that should be on your Company’s radar.

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Howard & Howard Congratulates Attorneys Named to Nevada Business Magazine’s 2021 ‘Legal Elite’ and ‘Best Up and Coming’

ROYAL OAK, Mich., June 15, 2021 – Royal Oak, Mich.-based Howard & Howard is proud to recognize our five attorneys named to Nevada Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite” and “Best Up and Coming” attorneys for 2021.

The Howard & Howard attorneys named to the 2021 “Legal Elite” list are as follows:

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2021 maximum charges for copies of medical records in Illinois

In Illinois, health care facilities and practitioners shall be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses by the person requesting copies of records, including the costs of independent copy service companies, handling charges for processing the request, and the actual postage or shipping charge, if any, plus copy charges. The Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5/8-2001(d)) initially set the maximum fees that can be charged and the actual dollar amount is adjusted annually by the Comptroller for the State of Illinois. Read more…

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